UK HealthCare again best Ky. hospital in U.S. News & World Report rankings; Baptist Health has two of seven on state list

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Seven Kentucky hospitals are included in the nation’s “Best Regional Hospitals” in the latest annual rankings by the magazine U.S. News & World Report.
They are, in order: the University of Kentucky hospital; in a tie for second, Baptist Health Louisville and St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood-Covington Hospitals, Louisville’s Norton Hospital and Baptist Health Lexington; and in sixth, the University of Louisville‘s Jewish Hospital and Saint Joseph Hospital-Lexington. 
To make the list, a hospital must offer a full range of services; either be ranked nationally in one of 12 measured specialties or have three or more high-performance rankings for procedures and conditions; and have at least two more high-performing than below-average rankings for procedures and conditions. The last criterion is new.

The report offers an overview of 122 Kentucky hospitals with a breakdown of each of the measured categories, as relevant to the services the hospital provides.

UK HealthCare, for the fifth consecutive year, claimed the No. 1 ranking with its Albert B. Chandler Hospital. The hospital also ranked in the top 50 for cancer care for the fourth straight year, and moved up to its highest ranking yet in that specialty, 29th. The hospital’s Markey Cancer Center is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-sponsored center, one of 71 in the nation.
Dr. Mark F. Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs, said in a news release, “This has been a challenging year, to put it mildly. But in these times, it’s more important than ever that Kentuckians with complex health problems have a medical center they can come to for best treatment options possible.”
UK also ranked as high-performing in these specialties: gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, geriatrics, nephrology (kidneys), orthopedics and urology.
The 31st annual rankings compared more than 4,500 hospitals in 26 specialties, procedures and conditions. A release said 134 were nationally ranked in at least one specialty, and 563 were ranked among the Best Regional Hospitals in a state or metro area. Data used for the rankings predate the covid-19 pandemic.
Baptist Health had two of the state’s top seven hospitals. Baptist Health Paducah fell off the Best Regional Hospital list this year, after being added last year for the first time ever, but it continued to be rated high-performing in heart failure and COPD.
Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman said in a news release, “Baptist Health has long been known for its compassionate clinical care, and the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings validate the high quality care provided by our physicians, nurses and staff as they live out our mission of leading in clinical excellence, compassionate care and growth to meet the needs of our communities.”
The report recognizes hospitals that are “high-performing” for 10 common adult procedures and conditions, including repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, aortic valve surgery, trans-catheter aortic valve replacement (added this year) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, colon-cancer surgery, heart-bypass surgery, lung-cancer surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement and congestive heart failure.
UK Healthcare ranked high-performing in all those categories except abdominal aortic aneurysms and trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, both dealing with the body’s main artery, and knee replacement. It ranked average in those three categories.
Baptist Health Louisville ranked high-performing for all procedures and conditions except trans-catheter aortic valve replacement and lung-cancer surgery. It ranked average in both.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare ranked high-performing in all the categories except aortic valve surgery, trans-catheter aortic valve replacement and heart-bypass surgery, in which it ranked average. It ranked high-performing in one specialty, orthopedics.
Baptist Health Lexington ranked high-performing in all but four categories, in which it ranked average: aortic valve surgery, trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, colon-cancer surgery and hip replacement.
Norton Hospital ranked high-performing for four procedures and conditions: heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and COPD. It ranked average for the other seven.
Saint Joseph Hospital-Lexington ranked high-performing for colon-cancer surgery, heart failure and COPD, and average for the rest.
UofL Health-Jewish Hospital ranked high-performing for lung cancer surgery, heart failure and COPD. It ranked average for the remaining categories.
Click here for information about how the magazine ranks the hospitals, including details on this year’s methodology changes.
Nationally, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., claimed the No. 1 spot, followed by Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, according to a news release.